Tuesday, 20 July 2010

FC Jyväskylä Blackbird (Finland)

FC Blackbird play in Kakkonen, the third tier in the Finnish football league. Formed in 1996, they come from the practically inpronouncable town of Jyväskylä in the centre of the country, known locally as the Athens of Finland. Now I can see you there smirking about their comedy name, but believe me, Finland is full of them. Some of their fellow league mates include Jalkapalloseura Airport City, FC Jazz Juniorit, Soccer Club Riverball and the frankly brilliant FC Santa Claus from Lapland.

They play their games at the tiddly and equally tricky to get your gums around Hippos Nurmikenttä. They struggled a touch in their first couple of seasons in the regionalised third level, so were moved from the midland section to the Northern, where they have fared much better, and last season reached their highest ever place in the league when they finished a respectable ninth.

But it's not all about the glamour, as the club also put a lot back into their local area and have a big hand in running the heartening Nappulaliiga, a kind of Little League for boys and girls between the ages of five and ten, who may not be the best players in their school, but who just want to have a kick about without any pressure - thus bringing the joy of football to the less sporty kids. And what a smashing little initiative that is!

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